Frequently asked Questions
Who should be a Master Gardener?
The Master Gardener program is perfect for those interested in learning more about the art and science of gardening such as botany, plant care, propagation, pest and weed management, sustainable gardening techniques, basic garden design and more. It is both theoretical and practical, taught by horticulturists, experienced practitioners and industry experts. Participants are encouraged to work together as a group in order to enhance knowledge and to solve problems. Different perspectives enrich the discussions and the learning experience. This non-credit program is designed to train volunteers who then can share their knowledge in the community.
Should I take the prerequisite courses?
While you do not have to take the courses to be successful in the Master Gardener program they will increase the scope of your knowledge and provide extra tools with which to approach the course content. Since the Master Gardener course is taught by experts, more can be gleaned from these experts if students have a good foundation in gardening knowledge. For some students this will be from experience, while others may find it helpful to take courses to help solidify those understandings. Read the course descriptions carefully and feel free to contact the coordinator if you have any questions about what is right for you.
What happens if I cannot attend all the classes?
Often students will need to miss one or more classes. The material can be made up by reading the notes (handed out at the beginning of each section), listening to recordings (most instructors permit) and going through lab materials.
How much work is the course?
The course involves pre-class readings and recordings, reflective exercises, bi-weekly assignments and a final assessment (after part B). Students should anticipate 1–2 hours/week of pre-class work (reading and going through resource material), 30 minutes on reflection and several hours on assignments. Time spent on assignments is often determined by the interest level of the students and the reference materials chosen but has ranged from 2–10+ hours per assignment.
What is involved in the practicum?
The practicum hours can be completed through the Calgary Horticultural Society, associated gardens and/or personal-interest volunteering. The breakdown of the 40 hours looks like:
- 5–10 hours with the Society – doing research, photography, answering gardening questions, writing articles, monitoring classes, course development and more. Most of these hours can be done online and timing is flexible.
- 10–30 hours at either the Society gardens or an affiliated garden location between April and October – current affiliated gardens include: Reader Rock Garden, FCJ gardens, Lougheed House gardens, Highfield Farm, Silver Springs Botanical Gardens, Agape & Rosedale Hospice Gardens and CNIB gardens. Other gardens or locations may be deemed suitable, depending on whether there is mentorship provided to the students. Out of town students will need to find their own local garden, farm or garden business to volunteer with.
- Remaining hours can be done in a location/position of the students choosing. This may include garden centres, private businesses, neighbours in need and/or local community or school garden. Other ideas may be discussed with the coordinator.
- Hours must be completed within 2 years of taking the course.